Double Espresso and a Famous Disk Jockey

The weather is hot; too hot for some, including me, as a typical Englishman, I start to wilt around 25c. Open-air market;  stalls covered in sun-shading canvas, offers fresh produce, fruit, vegetables but also fresh fudge; free sample sometimes leading to a box full!

Market traders calling out their delicacies; strawberries, raspberries, apples (especially fudge) are hard to resist.

Opposite the statue of King Alfred the Great is a park with beautifully laid out gardens including multi-colored flowerbeds and a stream running along the side.

An ice cream stand provides delicious ‘real ice cream’. My favorite being salted caramel but any flavor would tempt a passerby.

There is something about an outdoor market that indoor shops lack. An atmosphere of past times when everything was locally produced.

What else is essential on market day? Outdoor cafés; people sitting, relaxing chatting about anything and everything. Scent of coffee, freshly baked pastries including iconic English scones, butter, ‘clotted cream’, and strawberry jam. ‎ Too tempting to walk away from!

There is a continental feel. All along the High Street,  outside almost every shop hanging baskets display gorgeous ‎flowers. Early morning there is the sound of ‘drip drip drip’ as water feeds them in preparation for another hot day.

Accompanying this delightfully easy, relaxed atmosphere, street musicians enhance the backdrop with heavenly sights and sounds. Another sense takes over. A variety of music from Bob Dylan to an amazing opera singer. Attire, formal suit with tails. I just have to go and chat with ‘Bob Dylan’ asking him to sing ‘Mr. Tamborine Man’. A favorite. I sit outside a nearby café and force myself to enjoy a double espresso and…….an almond croissant perhaps!

An ancient 12th-century structure; ‘The Buttercross’ leads the way to The Square. Truly ‘Continental’; cafés adorn this wonderful square, from which the front of  Winchester Cathedral can be seen.

Some years ago a visit to town would be incomplete without enjoying a double espresso ‘rocket fuel’‎.  One day I was sitting outside a popular café reading the International Herald Tribune. I used to travel a lot for business and this newspaper was indeed international.

Winchester is renowned for its friendly culture and a chap sitting nearby asked me why I was not reading the Daily Telegraph, after which I provided a brief explanation. The conversation expanded and we introduced ourselves.  Simon Dee was his name. That was a shock!  He did not look like the Simon Dee of his heyday as a famous Disk Jockey and TV host.  The English will doubtless know instantly who he was; especially women who just loved this chap in the late 1960s, and 70s!

Simon Dee was a famous ‘disk jockey’ with a radio show and later a TV show. ‎ One photograph shows him surround by attractive young women as he sat on his e-type Jaguar and the photo features a 1967 Aston Martin. He was quite an icon in his day. Famous, smiling face, sense of humor. Sadly he fell out of favor with a TV company where he was being paid megabucks but wanted more.  Eventually, he decided to create documentaries. But each one was ‘blocked’, he explained. We used to meet occasionally if he happened to be at the café.

Sadly, he passed away a few years later in August 2009, having become a shadow of his former self. Such an individual who achieved ‘the sky’ disappeared from the public eye as if he never existed. I do have his biography which really takes you back to ‘old times’.

‎The next chapter will accompany the reader on a classical walk around England’s former capital and home of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex.


Simon Lever
Simon Lever
Prior to his retirement, Simon engaged in software and services sector search and recruitment for American companies around Europe. He has retained the enjoyment of engaging with people from other countries and cultures. His energies are now directed towards voluntary community activities, journaling, and exhibition stewardship. He is a Featured Contributor for BizCatalyst 360°. As an Exhibition Steward, at the 1000-year-old Winchester Cathedral, he is responsible for guiding visitors from the world over, around the award-winning 'Kings and Scribes Exhibition', which includes the 900-year-old Winchester Bible. The exhibition introduces visitors to Winchester's historical significance as a former capital of England. Simon's journaling activities are published on BizCatalyst 360° and accompanying posts on LinkedIn, He acknowledges the inspiration afforded him by Carol Campos of Massachusetts: Life Strategist, Writer, and Intuitive Business Leader who introduced him to writing with feeling; from the heart. Simon's forté is creative writing; the accent on the natural environment, transforming feelings, emotions, sights, sounds, and scents of Mother Nature's landscape; hills and rivers and woodland into words, transporting the reader to the locations. Essays include accounts of his life in former days. Instinctively writing in such a spontaneous manner, descriptions become life-like. His often emotionally charged writing, whether describing a surreal 'Son et Lumière' at the Grand Place in Brussels to experiences acquired during European business travel. Journaling and Exhibition Steward activities are his key sources of inspiration and creativity. Kindness is ever more important, where he is a promoter of Shelly Elsliger PPCC's 'Decide to be Kind' Campaign. Simon champions Positivity, Empathy, and Kindness and has been described as a 'Beacon of Positivity'.

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  1. A lovely reflection, Simon, particularly the reference to the local feeling of market day that I can relate to. Your description sounds like Pillars of the Earth took place in your backyard.

    I have obviously no recollection of Mr. Dee, having not listened to English radio at that time, but it seems that his experience is quite common; sometimes it can be very difficult to find a second act if the first was too popular and one got pigeon-holed. I think it is quite understandable if authors use pseudonyms if they want to write a different genre than what made them famous.

    • Dear Charlotte,

      Your comments are so welcome. Winchester is a city with a special place in history and I have only just begun my series of walking through this wonderland of historic significance. Pillars of the Earth; you do me a great honor. There is so much to write about and so many amazing locations to describe.

      As for Simon Dee, he was the most famous disk jockey and TV presenter ever to have reached out to so many. He was such a super character and myself and my wife enjoyed many conversations with him; in The Square. Thank you everso my friend for encouraging comments. Most certainly not taken for granted.

    • Dear Larry,

      If my story lifted your heart, my mission is partially been achieved. It matters not where I am, the visualisation of Winchester’s glory visits my heart and ultimately my fountain pen. The next chapter will take you on a trip around ancient buildings and countryside. Than you Larry, much appreciate your positivity during these turbulent times. As for Simon Dee he gave so much enjoyment that he is remembered by most people who enjoyed his unique style; especially the ‘girls’!!